Calcium is an essential building block for the human body.
Certain vitamins and minerals get more attention and awareness than others.
Yesterday, my focus was on the mineral magnesium.
Today, we turn our attention to calcium.
The “Got Milk” campaign of 1990s and early 2000s ensured calcium became a household name in nutrition.
Specifically, the ads underscored the importance of this nutrient for strong bones.
According to a recent Healthline article titled “Calcium Supplements: Should You Take Them?,” this mineral is key for health at any age or stage of life.
More than 98 percent of the calcium in your body is stored in teeth and bone.
The mineral is also found in the bloodstream, where it regulates the contraction and dilation of blood vessels and muscles, releases hormones like insulin, and transmits nerve signals.
Without calcium, the bones and teeth can weaken, causing osteoporosis.
Although this mineral is essential to the healthy functioning of the body, it is possible for people to have “too much of a good thing.”
Not that you will hear of many people “overdosing” on milk, but consuming or supplementing calcium in excess can lead to a higher risk of heart disease.
How much calcium is recommended by the Institute of Medicine?
The exact number varies by age and gender.
Women who are age 50 or younger should consume 1,000 milligrams per day.
Females older than age 50 have a recommended dosage of 1,200 milligrams per day.
Men can be older before their suggested intake changes.
Males age 70 and younger can have 1,000 milligrams per day, while those older than age 70 have a recommendation of 1,200 milligrams per day.
Adults age 50 or younger should not exceed 2,500 milligrams per day, and those over age 50 should not exceed 2,000 milligrams per day.
Men and women who consume diets rich in certain leafy greens, beans, dairy products, nuts, and tofu likely will not need to supplement their calcium intake.
Anyone who is unable to consume enough calcium-rich food may consider taking supplements.
When the intake of calcium is low, the body will take this nutrient from bones causing them to become brittle and weak.
As a result, breaks or fractures to bones become more common.
Women are especially prone to a deficiency after menopause.
If you are an older woman or do not have a diet rich in calcium, talk with your doctor about whether you should take supplements.
Reference: Healthline (June 23, 2023) “Calcium Supplements: Should You Take Them?”